Wednesday, February 8

Suozzi, King, Curran, Bellone to Call on Senate to Pass Federal COVID-19 Assistance for States, Counties, Localities, and Schools

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On Wednesday, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) was joined by a bipartisan group of elected officials, including Congressman Peter King (R-Seaford), Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, and several local officials to call on Senator Mitch McConnell, to pass bipartisan legislation which will provide federal aid to states, counties, localities, and schools as they continue to deal with budgetary shortfalls created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The press conference took place exactly two months after the House-passage of the Heroes Act. This critical and much-needed legislation included three of Suozzi’s most important priorities which will bring billions of dollars in aid to New York’s families and local governments:

  • A special fund of $49 billion distributed to States based on “rate of infection.” Suozzi led the entire NY and NJ delegations in asking congressional leadership for the creation of this fund. This fund will be especially helpful to local school districts.
  • The elimination of the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Yesterday, Congressman Suozzi joined Senator Schumer at a press conference on Long Island where Schumer pledged to fight for the full repeal of the cap during Senate negotiations of the federal stimulus package. Suozzi led the House in including the repeal of the SALT cap in the Heroes Act.
  • $87.5 billion for municipalities with more than 50,000 residents and $37.5 billion for municipalities with under 50,000 residents. This will help every municipality from the currently devastated counties to the smallest villages.

“It has been two months since the House passed legislation, which would bring billions in local aid to our state, counties, towns, cities, villages, and school districts. As demonstrated by the bipartisan group of elected officials here today, every local municipality needs Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to negotiate a deal and pass the Heroes Act. The longer they wait, the more Long Islanders and New Yorkers suffer.” – Congressman Suozzi.

“The Coronavirus has decimated state and local governments particularly here on Long Island. To avoid fiscal devastation, it is essential that Congress provide COVID funding to state and local governments to cover all expenses incurred and revenues lost.” – Congressman King.

“The coronavirus has turned the Long Island economy upside down, causing unprecedented financial damage to county governments that are unable to close these historic budget gaps and recover by austerity measures alone. With the Long Island economy already on shaky ground, we need Congress to deliver federal assistance in order to avoid drastic and painful actions that would ultimately be borne by our first responders and taxpayers alike. I thank Congressmen Suozzi and King for putting the politics aside and leading this bipartisan effort to ensure that Long Island can recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” – Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

“Local governments like ours are the tip of the spear in delivering relief and protecting residents’ health and safety during this ongoing national emergency. The alarm bells are ringing loudly for the Senate to act immediately. Nassau County is ready to emerge from the pandemic stronger than before but requires the hands of all our partners on the federal level.” – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

“For months this public health crisis has raged on and wreaked havoc on our economy and local governments. Locally, we managed the outbreak and now, we collectively call on leaders in Washington to allocate Federal funding for direct aid to local governments, including the Town of Oyster Bay and its villages. Without an increase in aid from the Federal government, local governments will face unprecedented economic damage.” – Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino.

“I stand with my colleagues at the federal, county, town and village levels in urging the Senate to approve this critical bipartisan legislation, which will ensure the communities most heavily affected by this public health crisis are not further set back by an ongoing economic crisis. While the Town of Huntington is in strong financial shape, the added financial burdens of an ongoing economic crisis, not of our creating, may risk our ability to continue providing the services so many of our residents need and rely on.” — Huntington Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci.

“Towns and Villages have been on the front lines, providing essential services directly to the residents from the very beginning of this pandemic. We’ve been hard at work, from everyday services such as waste and recycling removal, animal rescue and public safety to providing meal delivery, and PPE assistance during the pandemic. All the while, we’ve lost revenues from the commercial and retails industry and are certain to see massive cuts in State funding coming. We are truly grateful for our public servants at the federal level, who have been working together, to advocate for direct-to-local government funding. This aid will make us whole, which in turn allows relief for the taxpayers who are desperately trying to piece their lives back together. In short, this funding would directly benefit the residents of our communities, prevent layoffs and allow us to continue serving our communities without raising taxes or fees.” – Smithtown Town Supervisor Edward Wehrheim.

“COVID-19 has had a tremendous financial impact on local municipalities across Long Island, and we sincerely thank Congressman Suozzi for aggressively advocating on our behalf. The pandemic is unfortunately far from over and receiving federal funding will go a long way in helping local governments recover faster. “– North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented local municipalities with a variety of financial challenges that we are all currently navigating through. It is imperative that the Federal Government step up and recognize that financial aid will be necessary to allow local municipalities to continue to provide vital services for our residents. I want to thank Congressman Suozzi for his leadership on this issue, and we at the Town of North Hempstead implore his colleagues in Congress, the Senate, as well as the White House to support local municipalities during this unprecedented crisis.” – North Hempstead Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey.

“It is extremely important that local municipalities receive federal funding. Our villages had to use extra resources to keep residents and employees safe during the pandemic. Everything from masks to sanitizing ambulances and buildings to quadruple the amount of garbage cost us more than we had budgeted. Additionally, many of our local businesses are struggling and may not be around next spring. We need help now.” — Northport Mayor Damon McMullen.

“On June 9th Long Island voters exhibited overwhelming support for their communities’ school budget. Regrettably, this admirable local commitment amounts to far less than what will be needed to cover the inestimable costs entailed in the reopening of schooling in the fall or to mitigate the looming threat of pandemic related massive mid-year cuts in state aid. An infusion of federal funding is essential to address the budgetary response to securing a safe, healthy, meaningful, and equitable delivery of K-12 education.” — Executive Director of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association Lorraine Deller

The bipartisan press conference shows that there is mounting pressure on Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to negotiate a deal and pass legislation which will being relief to thousands of local communities across the United States of America.


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